27.07.2017 Greg Wilson, Analyst,Palm Beach Research Group.
On August 9, 1995, the internet had its “mainstream” moment.
That’s when Netscape held its initial public offering (IPO) and released its web browser, Netscape Navigator, to the world.
At that point, the internet had already been around for 15 years.
Yet despite being one of the greatest inventions in history, the world was slow to adopt. In 1995, only 0.3% of the world’s population used the internet.
The internet needed a catalyst. And looking back, it was Netscape.
The numbers back it up.
In 1995, there were 16 million internet users. Then Netscape Navigator came along. By the end of 1996, the number of internet users had more than doubled to 36 million.
And five years later, we reached over a half-billion users. That’s growth of over 100% annually.
The success of the IPO inspired the term “Netscape moment.” Today, we use the term to describe an event that signals the dawn of a new industry.
I believe we’ve already had our Netscape moment for another technology: bitcoin.
Now, it’s incredibly difficult to make predictions, especially without the benefit of hindsight. And I might be wrong.
Nevertheless, today I’ll tell you which key event over the past two years was bitcoin’s Netscape moment.
Bitcoin Is Like the Internet in 1995
Today, there’s an estimated 15 million–35 million bitcoin users. We’ll split it in the middle and call it 25 million.
That’s 0.3% of the population… similar to the number of internet users before its Netscape moment.
Like the internet in 1995, bitcoin continues to gain popularity.
The chart below highlights the key events of the last two years.
To me, one event stands out as bitcoin’s Netscape moment. That’s when Japan legalized bitcoin.
Since bitcoin was legalized, here’s what has happened in Japan…
- More than 260,000 stores in Japan are rolling out bitcoin as a payment method.
- Stores at famed electronics marketplace Akihabara have started accepting bitcoin.
- Japan is setting up a bitcoin “testing hub” for fintech companies.
- Leading Japanese bitcoin exchanges have unveiled plans to accelerate adoption.
It’s all leading to increased usage of bitcoin in Japan.
Volume on LocalBitcoins has accelerated since the law went into effect. And it had its highest volume week of the year the last week of June, topping 4.7 million yen (about $42,000).
Tokyo’s Sushi-Bar Numazuko Ginza 1st is an example of the growing popularity of bitcoin in Japan. The restaurant was one of the first to accept bitcoin payments.
The restaurant’s manager said there were only a few bitcoin payments per month two years ago. By March 2017, that number increased to about 70.
This quote from the restaurant manager sums it up best: “Japanese customers are using bitcoin more than we expected.”
How to Profit From the “Bitcoin Moment”
I think we’ll look back at Japan’s legalization of bitcoin as its Netscape moment.
Every day, millions of people are working on bitcoin to make it better. And its acceptance will only rise from here.
And just recently, South Korea announced it will regulate and legalize bitcoin. The trend that started in Japan continues unabated.
The best way to profit from this trend is simply to buy bitcoin.